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Ventura Water  I  Pipeline  I   Vol. 2, No. 4, Jan. 2012
Ventura Water

Rate Advisory Committee Meeting

Please Attend the Next
Rate Advisory Committee Meeting
on January 18

In the world of water, finding the balance between the consumer, commerce and conservation is at the heart of ongoing discussions continuing among members of the Ventura Water Cost of Service and Rate Design Citizen Advisory Committee.

The nine-member volunteer committee is charged with assisting Ventura Water with its Cost of Service and Rate Design Study currently underway. The Committee’s latest meeting, held December 14 at the City Maintenance Yard, ran for 3½ hours and included detailed overviews of financial plans and compared rate structures.

“There’s a lot of hard work going on to really protect the interests of the customers’ pocketbooks while at the same time ensuring that our water utilities will thrive into the future,” said Shana Epstein, General Manager, after the marathon meeting that wrapped up at 9:30 p.m.

During the meeting, consultant Sudhir Pardiwala of Raftelis Financial Consultants presented an updated long-range financial plan that projects the needs of Ventura’s water and wastewater systems through 2025 and beyond. Pardiwala’s presentation also included two scenarios to fund an extensive capital infrastructure program: one that assumes 87 percent debt funding and the other that assumes 67 percent debt funding. Pardiwala pointed out that while the higher debt option of 87 percent may result in lower rate increases for the first few years, ratepayers will pay more “over the life of the 30-year loan."

While the financial plans are important tools to steady rate adjustments and to ensure bond covenants are met, Epstein noted that they do not replace the annual budget process.

“The long-range financial plan establishes a general road map to fiscal stability,” Epstein said. “The budget and revenue adjustments will be realigned as needed over the coming years.”

Ventura residents are encouraged to attend the Committee’s next meeting on Wednesday, January 18 at 6 p.m. at the City Maintenance Yard, 336 Sanjon Road.

capital improvement project
Building to Protect Our Environment

A $21 million, two-year capital improvement project to remove more nutrients from the water treated by the Ventura Water Reclamation Facility came online recently.

The Reclamation Facility, situated near Ventura Harbor, releases 8 to 9 million gallons of treated water daily into the Santa Clara River Estuary, where the river meets the Pacific Ocean.  During the activated sludge treatment process, ammonia is converted to nitrate, which unlike ammonia, is not considered toxic. However, nitrate is a nutrient that in sufficient quantities can affect oxygen levels in receiving waters and, in Ventura’s case, could lead to algae blooms and other ecosystem disruptions in the fragile Santa Clara River Estuary.

A 70 percent reduction in nitrate to protect the Estuary was required by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2008 as a condition of Ventura’s discharge permit. In conjunction with the upgrade, the project provided an opportunity to modernize facility infrastructure components and associated equipment, some of which have been in service since the 1960s.

The rates paid by Ventura Water customers fund our capital improvement program, which includes important projects like this one. It represents an investment by our community to protect our local water resources and will pay dividends today and serve future generations tomorrow.

To learn more about this project, visit www.cityofventura.net/water/wastewater.


Be a Part of Ventura's Water Future
Happy New Year!
Shana Epstein, General Manager Ventura Water
Caring For Our Infrastructure

Dear Customer:

Every January 1, we face a shiny, new year full of possibilities and challenges. For 2012, I propose that we all renew our commitment to infrastructure stewardship. Our grandparents knew the value of clean water and built the first water and wastewater systems. Our infrastructure has served us faithfully but the time is swiftly arriving for its replacement, and that cannot be ignored.

How many times have you procrastinated on repairs to your home? In my family, we have a little joke about it. I love to travel home to Houston and stay at my Mom’s home, where she has lived for 33 years. After all that time, things have started to fall into disrepair, and Mom has tended to defer major projects that need to be completed. On our previous two visits, we had to put buckets out where the roof leaked. Thankfully, the roof is now fixed but we encourage my mother to tackle the maintenance now so we won’t have to when the time comes to sell the place (or have to force the new owner to tear the place down and start over).

Just like Mom, Ventura Water cannot afford to defer maintaining, rehabilitating, replacing and upgrading the mostly buried infrastructure that keeps water flowing to and from your home or business.  There is no new homeowner or business owner to come in and start from scratch.  And, like most homeowners, we all know that delaying repairs until they become an emergency can cost a lot more than routine maintenance.

Together, we own and are responsible for our vital water infrastructure. We depend upon it for our daily activities – living, working and playing. We want our customers to know, understand and value the miles and volumes of invisible infrastructure that serve you.

Join us in becoming infrastructure stewards and learn more as Pipeline features some of the capital improvement projects underway or scheduled across the City. In February, watch for a special edition of “Sustainable Ventura,” our CAPS-TV Channel 15 video show that will feature our water infrastructure and the investment needed to keep it reliable far into the future.

I invite you to post on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/venturawater and share how you have seen the value of Ventura Water’s infrastructure. I look forward to reading your observations.

Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

Shana Epstein
 


Shana Epstein
General Manager
Copyright © 2012 Ventura Water, All rights reserved.